China is blocking high-level talks about imposing new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, apparently in retaliation for US arms sales to Taiwan, US officials and diplomats briefed on the matter said Thursday.
The Bush administration has been trying for more than a week to arrange a conference call among senior officials from the six nations negotiating with Iran. But they have so far been stymied by China's refusal to commit, they said.
The officials and diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity in discussing internal deliberations between the United States and its negotiating partners: the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France and Russia - along with Germany.
The call has been expected since Iran's top nuclear envoy wrote a letter to the six countries on Oct. 6 complaining about the attitude of the West in the talks.